Variety reports that David Cronenberg is in talks to direct Denzel Washington in the Robert Ludlum adaptation The Matarese Circle for MGM. Michael Brandt and Derek Haas were previously announced as the screenwriters on the project. Former Warner Bros. topper Lorenzo di Bonaventura is producing. The novel, which follows an American agent and a Russian agent forced to team up to thwart a plot to topple both their governments, is considered one of Ludlum's most ripe for filming. There's no word on whether the story will take place in its original Cold War setting or be updated, but given the current chilly climate between America and Russia, it wouldn't be too difficult to update. I'd imagine that's the path they'll take, following the success of the contemporary Bourne movies. I'm really glad to get an update on this project, because there hadn't been much public movement since early April despite the high price the studio paid for the property. I think Cronenberg is a fantastic choice. His recent Eastern Promises was a terrific, adult action thriller, and I think he'll bring a very interesting, smart point of view to the Ludlum material.
Unsurprisingly given its success, Warner Bros. is moving forward with a big screen sequel to its summer spy hit Get Smart, according to Variety. The Steve Carell update of the Sixties television classic earned the studio $130 million domestically and $230 million worldwide. Says the trade, "The studio is mobilizing a sequel for Carell to return as Maxwell Smart." I was disappointed with the movie (which never seemed quite sure of its own comic premise: was Smart overconfident and inept or was he a good agent, but misunderstood?), but I liked the cast and if they all come back, perhaps the second time will be the charm. The article doesn't mention anything about the involvement of Anne Hathaway or Alan Arkin, but of course this sequel is in its earliest stages. There was already a direct-to-DVD sequel of sorts, the spinoff movie Get Smart's Bruce and Lloyd Out of CONTROL.